Enjoying my time off - birthday #41 came yesterday. I've been re-reading Peter Coe's 'Winning Running' which goes through Seb Coe's typical training year - really good stuff for middle distance runners. Coe's first phase of training every year was to take a month completely off. (some guys took off more time than that) I won't be taking off that much time (2-3 weeks for me) but the legs are feeling very refreshed w/ the 10-days I've taken thus far.
I've got a good idea as to how my training is going to be structured. Some new things will be added that I haven't done before. First off, I'll be adding swiss ball and BOSU exercises (stability half sphere that you stand on) into my core routine as well as assorted plank exercises. Hopefully this will strengthen my core even more to reduce the chances of injury. I've also added a stretching routine for the hip flexors to keep the hips loose.
Additionally, I've gathered up several box jump and plyometric exercises that I'll be starting soon. These routines along w/ the power-lifting exercises (squats, dead lifts, and power cleans) will add strength and power which should increase my speed.
As I mentioned previously, there will be more of an emphasis on increasing my speed through plyos, box jumps, power-lifting, and sprint work (much later in the training). Being that most of this additional work doesn't actually involve running (until the sprint work later), I'll be able to do much of this work while in the base phase where the focus will be increasing my weekly mileage from the 35-40 mpw up into the 50s or 60s. (using De Castella's weekly training as a model w/ some influences from Coe and El Guerrouj) So while the mileage won't consist of the very intense peak training - not all of those 50+ miles will be easy. A lot of steady runs, hills, tempo, etc.
My experience thus far has been that the paces from 5k pace and slower don't really wear on my body so much (I've run at a 'steady' pace of 6:40 or so every day - even on the longer 12-13 mile runs w/o it bothering me) So the idea here will be to seriously work on both my speed (at the gym) and my endurance (on the trails) at the same time while strengthening my core w/ the swiss ball, BOSU, plank exercises, etc.
Using Coe's yearly training as a model, I'll be able to break down the training into stages which will dictate mileage, intensities, etc for each time period. I won't be putting together a detailed long term plan as this thing will be very flexible depending on how I'm feeling. The important thing for me is that I have a good idea of how I want the overall training to go and I'll just operate w/ that framework in mind.
In the next post I'll break down what I believe it will take for me to hit a 2-flat 800m, and how each part of the training will hopefully do its part to get me there.
Have a safe and happy 4th!